WaPo columnist to Hillary: Stop digging

The demand that Hillary Clinton obey the First Law of Holes has as much chance of success as getting Hillary to obey the First Laws of Handling Classified Material, but the plea is noteworthy for its authorship. It’s not George Will or Charles Krauthammer offering Hillary Clinton this advice, but Ruth Marcus, one of the liberal columnists in the Washington Post. Marcus desperately wants Hillary to stop doing damage to her campaign — but this may miss the point of Hillary’s continued digging.

In the column, Marcus dismantles most of Hillary’s defenses on the e-mail server, especially the notion that her use of a private e-mail server was consistent with her predecessors. In the era of e-mail, Marcus notes, there are “precisely two” precedents, neither of whom used a home-based e-mail server: Colin Powell, who did use a private e-mail account but not on a server based out of his home, and Condi Rice, who used a government account. None of Barack Obama’s other Cabinet Secretaries has made exclusive or even primary use of a private e-mail account, and certainly not on a home server.  Deleting the evidence and balking at releasing the server also look pretty bad, Marcus writes, no matter what rationalizations Hillary has now for both actions.

So, my advice: Stop making light. Stop litigating. Stop the high-handed dismissing. Stop the prickliness with the media; we’re not going away. Stop the non-apology apologies (you didn’t do anything wrong, but you wouldn’t do it over again).

You don’t need to grovel or confess to grievous errors. Just dial down the combativeness — as hard as this is for you — and ramp up the reasonableness: You understand people have questions. If classified information was not adequately protected, you’d like to know that and figure out what lessons can be learned.

This problem isn’t going away. The trick, right now, is simply not making it worse.

Marcus is right — but misses the point. The core issue in this scandal is that Hillary Clinton deliberately violated the Federal Records Act and allowed the State Department to make numerous misrepresentations to courts in FOIA responses in order to thwart legitimate and constitutional oversight of her actions as Secretary of State. That turned out to have dangerous consequences in handling classified material, and Hillary has consistently lied about that for the last six months. But the heart of this scandal is that Hillary Clinton thinks she’s above the law, and deliberately acted to defeat Congressional oversight in reckless disregard of those consequences.

Hillary wants to shift to the conversation Marcus suggests by lecturing Americans on overclassification. That might work with a few people who don’t recall that Top Secret/compartmented signals-intelligence material isn’t part of that overclassification problem, but it’s a distraction from the abuses of power and authority committed by Hillary and her team for four years. And that strategy assumes that we don’t find even more highly classified material in Hillary’s unsecured communications, or eventually find work-related material in the e-mails that Hillary’s team tried to delete and wipe from the server. Each new finding will remind everyone all over again about Hillary’s abuses of power and dishonesty, and put Hillary back in a position where legal parsing will be her only possible refuge — perhaps even from prosecution.

Needless to say, this has had a powerful impact on her presidential campaign hopes. Michael Ramirez summed it up best earlier this week for Investors Business Daily. And speaking of digging

ramirez-hillary-bernies

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.